Rama Lohani Chase was the second doctoral student in Women's and Gender Studies to successfully defend her dissertation. Rama's dissertation explored changing gender dynamics during crisis and armed conflict to see how global trends in movements of people, labor, and capital impact the appropriation and production of gender at the local level. Her work focused on the decade long (1996-2006) "People's War" in Nepal and the effects of three key processes -- militarization, displacement, and gender emobdiment -- on Nepali women.
This dissertation explores changing gender dynamics during crisis and armed conflict to see how global/transnational movements of people, labor, and capital impact the appropriation and production of gender at the local level. The decade long (1996-2006) "People's War" in Nepal produced three key processes -- militarization, displacement, and altered embodiments of gender -- that impacted Nepali women and society. Through a study of women's position in Nepali political and cultural history and multi-sited ethnographic research on the People's War, the dissertation examines how crisis induced displacement and violence impacted and shaped gender dynamics at the local level and Nepali people's mobility at the transnational/global level. The latter has enabled the concept of a "Nepali diaspora" to be more visible and political, which is a strategy of survival appropriated by the globally dispersed Nepalis as their homeland reels under crisis and violence and as Nepalis continue to leave for work as migrant laborers. A close look at women's participation in the Maoist war and their representation by the Maoists as well as the state military brings new insights into women's agency through the embodiment of militancy and militarism. Yet, the "call to arms" for women in Nepal raises important questions for the feminist politics of representation vis a vis other movements around the globe for peace and social justice. Taking a feminist interdisciplinary perspective, the dissertation explores the ways in which the bio-politics of body, gender, and sexuality are enmeshed with nationalism, ideology and economics and work in the production of the "military woman" and the "revolutionary woman" in contemporary times of transnationalism and globalization.